Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Little Bit of Life

This week we haven't done anything real major, but it has been really nice to just be around. Every once in awhile I think I want to move away from Longmont, but then I have weeks like this last one were I wonder what in the world I would do if I moved away. I mean I am sure I would find stuff to do anywhere I lived, but here it is so easy. This last week we went to the fair, played at our friends house, went rock climbing, shopping, played in the river, swimming, went to the park, and went to the library for lego club. It was awesome. I can do all of those things for relatively cheap and it takes almost no time to get there. The farthest was the river and it took about 25 minutes. I really do have a blast doing things here. So here are some more details on the things we do.

Boulder County Fair-The fair grounds are right here in Longmont and so after video chatting with Oma it wasn't raining, so we decided to sneak out while the getting looked okay. We went to the fair and the girls had a blast. They milked a fake cow, touched a chicken, petted rabbits, fed a goat a carrot, pumped water, and got to ride on the 'shuttle.' It was so great. Tia loves animals and she wanted to touch all of them. She loved it. Kylee says her favorite part was milking the cow and I totally believe it because she kept asking to go back while we were there. We probably spent a good hour and half at the fair. We had a fun time just walking around and enjoying everything it was super fun.
Tia with the goat.
Kylee at the water pump.
Tia pumping water.
Playing with Friends-So I have gotten to be really good friends this summer with Bethany Blaine. Her oldest is the same age as Kylee and it has been so fun to hang out with her this summer. I really love talking to her and my kids love playing at their house, so it totally works. Plus, we both like to do stuff and kind of have the same age/capabilities of children sort of so it works. I feel like it has been a really long time since I have a had a friend that I feel comfortable just dropping in on, or just calling and inviting to do whatever, and probably even longer since I have had a good one outside my family that I can enjoy talking with for a long time. So, I really enjoy the time I get to play with her and it has been super fun. Plus, Jensen has been really good for my girls. He is a little wild which I know can be a bad thing, but I think it some ways it teaches my kids to think out of the box and to try new things. I mean I feel like I am a pretty easy going parent, but there are somethings I don't really want to show my kids but if they learn them through play that is okay too. So, anyway I think it works out and I love having a friend to play with.

We went school shopping on Friday. I have really had a hard time getting ready for summer to end. I mean I hate summer ending, but the fact I actually have children going to school this year is really not cool. I need at least another week. Anyway, my bad attitude has kind of rubbed off a little, so I have been trying to sound a lot more positive about it and get excited for it. So, on Friday we went school shopping because for me there is nothing quite like buying new clothes and shoes to feel like it is time for school. So, I wanted to get Kylee a pair of shoes that would hopefully last the school year (unless she grows, which she might), so we went to Ross, but we actually didn't find anything there but found a great pair of shoes on clearance at Famous Footwear and she loves them. Tia found a pair of shoes she liked too, but I told her she only gets one pair. Then asked if she wanted boots or shoes. She said boots. I said, okay then we have to wait. So, she is actually patiently waiting for us to get her some new boots. However, I did try Wal-Mart for boots, but we didn't find any. However, we did find some clothes on clearance for like a buck. It was so great. I didn't think I was going to be able to get my kids any new clothes for school, but with the screaming deals I was able to do it and they are both so excited to wear new clothes to school. Probably made slightly more exciting by the fact they can't wear them until school starts. I actually feel really blessed to have found these clothes and shoes for my kiddos.

Friday night we gave the girls a choice between watching a movie and going to Lego Club at the library and they actually chose Lego Club. I was pretty impressed. Anyway, it was a StarWars theme and these girls and their dad built some pretty cool space rovers. Gaupo is really actually a very creative guy and can build just about anything, I am pretty impressed. I can help the girls get started, but he does such a great job of helping them finish it up. We had a great time spending time with him at the even especially since he didn't have to work, so we had his undivided attention and it was great. We also left in a rainstorm, so we got to witness crazy rain and hail and it was pretty cool. Not so much the hail, but I actually love being in a car when it rains and this was no exception. It was so pretty and sounded great.
Gaupo, Tia, and Kylee with their creations.
They are just too cute not to have another pic.
Saturday we played at the park in the morning. We spent about and hour and half there. It had rained the night before so the sand was perfect for building things and burying feet. The girls also played on the slides and pretended they had a castle. We even tried out the monkey bars. It was really fun. Later on Saturday we did a lot of sorting and putting away. We moved most of the toys to the basement. We are going to see how that works for us and our space issues. Then we sorted through stuff and organized stuff, so the basement looks really good and probably wont give the children who need to nap down there nightmares. I/we have actually been sorting through our house a little bit over the past few weeks and getting rid of stuff we don't need and organizing and you know what it is so nice. Yeah, it takes work and our kids aren't the biggest fans, but is so freeing to get rid of extra stuff and organize what we have. My house doesn't have a ton of storage space so it is really nice when things have a place and are what we need. It was a much needed project. 
  • I feel like I need to tell part of Saturday that I am not sure about posting, so please don't judge Gaupo or me. I just think this story needs to be told. So, as most of you know Pokemon Go came out about a year ago-ish and has been a pretty big part of our lives since. Anyway, this last Saturday Gaupo really wanted to catch a rare Pokemon that was out. Well, I was okay with him spending sometime doing this, but it ended up being about 3 to 4 hours of time, which I was not okay with. Normally I would get really upset like angry and become confrontational about it. However, oddly I felt hurt and sad. Anyway, Gaupo came back and he felt bad it had taken so long and that he didn't get what he wanted. At first I just blew it off and I wasn't going to say anything, but then the girls went downstairs and it was just us. So, I took the oppertunity to tell him that yeah I didn't really like that he had spent, so much time on this game. Not just Saturday, but that week. I explained, that I know he "needs" video games, but we need him. He missed playing at the park and helping me with a project and being with us on one of the few Saturdays that he has open and he did for something that really doesn't even matter. Anyway, I also told him I don't mind that he plays, I just don't like how much time it has taken. After I told him this he went down and spent sometime with the girls. Holding the emotions and then telling them to him had taken quite a toll on me, so I did what most girls do I cried when he went downstairs. He came back up then felt even worse, which I was also sad about. I didn't want to make him feel bad because he is a great Dad and Husband and we love him, so much. Anyway, we talked a little bit more and we worked through it, but I guess what I really learned is that when I managed to wait until I wasn't angry to talk to him and I didn't start a fight about it. I didn't have any regrets on expressing my feelings and desires to him, and that is a first for me because I usually say things that aren't very nice and the Spirit isn't there, but this I know the spirit can work with you to correct things. It guided me to say things that needed to be said in away that wouldn't provoke and argument. I don't know it was great and like I said I married a great man and he has tried, so hard to make sure that he is having a better balance and being with us and neither of us are perfect, so we both have to work at this and I am so glad that Gaupo is patient with me and didn't take offense because we are growing together and it is so awesome. Remember Gaupo and I are doing great. I really probably shouldn't write this, but I don't have another journal, so NO JUDGING us.
In more fun things, today we went to the LaVern Johnson Park in Lyons, and played in the river and had a great time. We met up with several people from our ward and played in the water and the sand and had a great time. It was good to visit. It was good for the kids to play. It was a little chilly at first, but it warmed up and was a great time. The girls were pretty tired when they got home from all that fun, so they took a nap. 
Tia and Kylee playing with the Anderson girls by the river.
Then they got up and had dinner. Then we went rock climbing and swimming. Tia climbed all the way to the top today. It looks a lot higher when a three-year old climbs that wall. It was more nerve racking then I thought it would be and I had to remind myself that she was on a belay and she wouldn't fall it would be okay. But, also while thinking that telling and encouraging her to go all the way. She loved it and she did awesome. I am really impressed by that little girl. Kylee is still a little gun shy of the whole climbing thing and I didn't make her do it today, but I climbed and I think by watching Tia and I she will be ready for it next time. The girls and I went swimming. My incision has healed enough that it I could go swimming, so that was fun. Plus, we met up with Trent and Tori which the girls think is always just the best. They had a great time swimming and jumping and playing in the tubes. I probably made a mistake making Kylee get in the deep pool, but oh well hopefully it isn't permanently damaging and she wont rock climb or jump in the deep water. One day I will learn how and when and where to push my kids to do things, but until then I just have to keep on going with both the good and bad I do.

I feel very blessed to live here in Longmont. I feel very blessed to have the friends, and family I do here. I have loved being able to go and adventure out and play this summer. My Kylee and Tia have brought me so much joy and adventure. They continually teach me about patience, fun, laughter, friends, and living life with joy. These two girls of mine have a great time playing with each other, me, and their friends. I love that I can do so much here and that Gaupo has a job and supports me in the things that I want to do. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father help Gaupo and I lead and guide our family and gets us where we need to go. I know that Heavenly Father wants us to succeed and is willing to help us even when we fall short. I had the great opportunity to teach in R.S. on Sunday all about the great truths that we are children of God, He loves us, He knows us, He trusts us, and He wants us to succeed, but He also does ask us to obey. I am feeling truly blessed and very grateful.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summer Mode

The past few years I have been the Mom who manages to keep bedtime and naptime pretty well in the summer. I love my routines, and I have been pretty satisfied with what we do in the time the kids are awake. This year, OH BOY! I have not been good at all. I mean I did okay until I went on vacation. I didn't do too bad considering it was vacation, but after that oh man we blow bed time and/or naptime by at least an hour every couple of days. It always seems like something amazing needs to happen, or not so amazing, but nonetheless a moments. Consequently, I have been really bad this summer with our sleeping schedule, but you know we will survive and we have had a great time making memories.

This week has had some great moments. Trust me there are not so great ones too, but I am tired of writing about those, so you get the we are awesome version this week. I think I mentioned it in the last post, but I had a minor procedure done this last week to removed a cyst. Well, one of the things I am suppose to avoid for a couple of weeks in swimming. I was kind of worried about this, but it all turned out well. On Wednesday, we rode our bikes to the library. That was actually really fun. It was kind of an overcast day, so the weather was cool. Also, I didn't go running because I didn't want to get all sweaty because I couldn't take a shower until Thursday afternoon at the earliest. Anyway, we decided to ride to the library. The girls did really good on the way down. We stopped and played at the park and still managed to get to the library in time for storytime. We went to storytime and then hangout at the library for bit and then started the trek home. It was a pretty good. There wasn't too much whining and we stopped for free lunch on the way home. It wasn't that great of food. I really wonder how in the world these meals are considered healthy because we are not the healthiest eaters, and I know that that stuff can not be good for you. Anyway, they had a great time attending storytime there and then playing with some other kids who were there. It was really fun to watch them interact with these kids and figure out how to play with them. But, as you can guess after all that playing and riding, plus by this time it was hot, so the last little bit home was not so great, but we survived even though most of the way Kylee was threatening to never ever ride her bike again.

Another fun thing I decided to do with the girls this week since I was trying to avoid swimming was rock climbing. I have taken the girls before, but it has been awhile. They both did really good. Tia has improved drastically since she first climbed and Kylee has also improved quite a bit. However, Kylee used the Auto Belay and she climbed pretty high, but they didn't want to let go to let herself come down and she climbed high enough I couldn't reach her, so then of course she was all done. Tia climbed and climbed. I pretty much had to make her stop. Her muscles were getting really tired, and you could tell because she was struggling to focus, and climb and so it was a good time to quit. I took them back tonight and Tia did great. Probably a personal best as far as height and she loves swinging much to her belayer's dismay. However, he was a good sport and let her do her thing and is actually the one who helped her get to those new heights. Kylee did okay until she decided she was going to get to the same spot and she was literally one hold away and she started freaking out. She says she got scared I don't know how or why, but she was not having it. So, I guess I am now in the process of getting Kylee loving it again. AGHHHHH!! I don't know why this happens. I mean I guess fear is a good thing, but sometimes it is so frustrating because if she messes up once or one time its a little scary it takes so much to build the confidence back up and get her to fall in love with it again. She really did love rock climbing and she was/is very good at it. I mean when she decided she was going to go to the dolphin rock and she was focused on her goal she did it almost no problem, but when it go hard and she realized where she was then a freakout. Oh well, I guess we will be going more often until this is cleared. Luckily next week I can start climbing too. I could probably do it this week but they said I should lift or pull or push anything for a couple of weeks so it doesn't stress the scar. We will see how good I can be.
Kylee rock climbing the day we went.
Tia rock climbing the first day.
Friday we ventured down to Denver. I decided that I would go to the temple 2x this month. However, I decided really late in the month, so I only had this past weekend to go. So, I drove myself and the girls to Denver and Kitt watched them for me while I went to the temple. It was really nice to go to the temple. I had a lot on my mind and the Celestial Room was so peaceful and it was great to just be there. However, I didn't get to visit with Kitt much which was kind of a downer, so I think I have decided that I will go 2x to the Ft. Collins temple and then just go visit Kitt. That way I am all excited and had a chance to visit and play and then the traffic doesn't seem so bad. Don't get me wrong I would do it for the temple again, but I think it is more relaxing to go to temple when I don't have traffic to worry about driving home in. However, the girls had a great time with their Aunt Kitt. They went swimming, had Mac and Cheese, played games, played defeat the Hun with Aunt Kitt's boyfriend Matthew, and all sorts of fun. Then to cap-off their already awesome day, Gaupo brought home Moana, and so we had to watch that. I guess it is a good thing they didn't take naps till they were in the car.
Me at the Denver Temple
As you probably guessed, if I am going twice this month then I needed to go Saturday too. Gaupo and I took the girls with us to the temple and did initiatories. So Gaupo watched the girls while I went in and then we switched. They pretty much played in the grass and puddles I think while I was in the temple. Then when I took over we walked around some more. There were a couple of brides there and Tia loved watching them. So, it was kind of weird to follow these strangers around and watch while their pictures were being taken, but I could definitely think of worse things to be fascinated by. So, we watch brides, dipped our hands in the fountain, played sit and listen for a minute then tell mom what you hear. Kylee actually really like this game. Tia obviously struggled a bit, but I think it was good for them to just sit for minute and look at the temple. I am really glad we took them. Sometimes, it is kind of long for them, but I think it is good for kids to go to the temple and have that be part of their lives every once in awhile. After the temple, Gaupo treated us to Wendy's and we came home and made Tia a burrito (she doesn't like hamburgers, chicken nuggets, or fries), and ate a picnic on the living room floor and then finally got the girls to bed for a nap. That night for dinner we did one of my favorite things--a weiner roast. It was so great to cook outside. The air was kind of cool the fire was warm, we have a pretty nice looking back yard and we do it together. I don't know I just love it and, so I am glad Gaupo spoiled me with that fun evening dinner. We just chilled outside for awhile and then doused the fire and got baths and bed.
Aren't we just the cutest family ever!?!
Tia sitting being quiet.
Kylee sitting quiet.

Me at the Temple.
Our last great adventure this week was going to the fair and watching the Westinaries show for FHE on Monday. Westinaries is a high school horse group that does all kind of tricks on their horses. The girls loved it especially Tia. Both girls said they wanted a horse after and I still kind of wish for a horse, but Gaupo of course said no. Which right now is fine. I mean seriously I live in the middle of Longmont, where would I put a horse? But some dreams just linger and are made even more fun when your girls want it too. It was a good show. They did a good job and I love that the girls loved it and that it wasn't TV, so you got what you got and they were still entertained with it. Gaupo enjoyed the show too, so I think it was a win for everyone. Plus, the girls got to stay up late, why wouldn't they like that?
Us at the Westinaries show.(Tia, Guapo, Kylee, and Me)
I feel so blessed to have been able to do the things we have done this summer. I really feel like it is the first summer our girls could really appreciate or do any of these things and it has been so fun. I have never wanted summer to end, but I feel like this one is ending all too soon. There is still a few more things I want to do and there is just not enough time, but I am so grateful for what we have been able to do. It really has been a lot of fun to play and be a family this summer.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Our First Time to Lakeside

Alright, on to more lighthearted and fun things. This year we have done the summer reading program at the library. However, this year I feel like my kids are actually old enough to reap some significant benefits of doing the program. Anyway, on of the prizes award to the kids as the complete level one is a ticket to Lakeside Amusement Park with a discount ride pass for an adult. I haven't ever been until this year even though we had passes before. I just never really thought our kids were big enough or old enough to go, but this year we thought we would give it a shot.

So, we took Kylee and Tia to Lakeside on Thursday night. We left around 5:30 and got there about 6:30. We got ride I.D.'s for all of us and started riding. Actually the girls did most of the riding because adults can't ride the rides in Kiddie Land. That is kind of a bummer, but oh well. Anyway, the girls had a blast. They rode I think just about every ride in Kiddie Land. By far there favorite ride in Kiddie Land was the roller coaster. However, Kylee also enjoyed the Frog Hopper and Tia enjoyed the cars and motorcycle rides too. Kylee rode the roller coaster at least 10 times and Tia rode a good five times too. Kylee rode it so much there was more than once she just made it look as if she were taking a ride in the car she was so calm about it. The silly kid. We also took them into the main park, but they were too short for most of the rides. Although we did take them on the Merry-Go-Round, Ferris Wheel, this airplane ride, a boat ride, and a train ride. Kylee's favorite of those rides was the Ferris Wheel and Tia loved the train. Tia was so afraid that we were going to miss the train she started crying. We saw the train and then started running to the station, and the train passed us. Well, Gaupo and I knew it would stop at the station, but Tia was sure it was leaving her and she wouldn't get to ride. Luckily, we convinced her otherwise and got to the train and got to ride so she was okay.

Our kids had a really great time and it was super fun to take them. They rode rides until about 9:00PM when we told them we had to go home. They totally would have kept going, but it was late and we need to get home, so they had to leave, but it was a super fun. We had a great time doing something like that as a family. I really love watching my girls experience new things. Their eyes just light up and they laugh and want to go right from one place to another. They love to talk about it and they just want to soak it all in. It is pretty fun, so I am glad we got to take them. I think we might end up spoiling our kids rotten by the end of summer with letting them stay up late and see and do things they haven't done before, but hopefully they wont get too spoiled and just enjoy the time they have to see and do such cool stuff.

Tia on the bug ride. This was the first ride we did.
Kylee on the bug ride.
Tia on a train ride in Kiddie Town.
On a plane ride.
Tia on a boat ride.
Kylee On the same ride.
Tia on a car ride.

Me, Tia and Kylee on the Ferris Wheel
Up a little higher on it.
First time on the roller coaster.
A little later on the coaster

Me, Kylee, Tia, and Gaupo on the train.
Me and Kylee on the plane one. Kylee is controlling the direction thing.
I don't know why I can't get this video in line, but here is the girls on the roller coaster.


Sometimes We Have the Best Plans

I feel like I am so good at thinking up great things to do and how awesome they will be. What I am not so good at is rolling with things when those plans don't go as I planned. One example is when I wanted to go with a friend on a bike ride. She had to finish cleaning her house first. So, I finished up my chores and headed over to help her with hers, but then as we were getting ready to leave she had a severe case of heartburn and couldn't go. I still wanted to go, so I took her son and my girls and we went. I wasn't planning on being at that park for lunch, but we were and that worked out okay, but made the next plans rushed.
My bike riding gang. Kylee, Tia, and Jensen.
The plan was I was going to let my kids go to 'Maker Monday' at the library, so we hustle home from the park and jump in the car to go and we get there and there is no one in the room. Me being me assumes, "Oh well, we are a little late and its probably just a come and go thing. So, let's get started." I get my girls started and then a librarian comes in and says "We aren't open yet." Me:"Oh, I am so sorry." I am feeling super embarrassed because we are already gluing and cutting paper. She did allow us to take our stuff home, but I still felt bad because I was hoping to do it with everyone else. Turns out "Maker Monday" starts at 2:00 not 1:00. AUGHHHH!!

I feel like a lot of this week was like that day. Where I have great things I want to do and I do get them done, but the way the day and how it goes plays out is nothing like I planned. I can't be the only one that has days like that. Or, sometimes I have no plans and I end up doing a whole bunch of stuff and kind of sort of forget to have fun and be a Mom too. Like on Friday when I was just going to clean the counters off. Well I did that and then the table, and then my room. Which I was in an organizing purging mood, so I went though my closet and got rid of some clothes and shoes. I also managed to go through underneath the bathroom cabinet, clean the bathroom, babysit some kids, have a friend go through the stuff I was giving away, and vacuum the floor. In a lot of ways, I am like wow look at everything I did, but then I get kind of discouraged, because my husband had to figure out what we should have for dinner and make it. I didn't really spend time with my kids and it was just kind of a busy day. I console myself in the fact that I need days like that because eventually I do need to get stuff done and not play, but still I feel like I should have more balance, like today.

I feel a lot better about today. I managed to go running, feed my kids breakfast (even if it was about 9:00). I cleaned mopped the floor, played a little house, chase, and jumped on the tramp. I also managed to have surgery (minor surgery. I got a cyst removed from my neckish area). You know the play seemed to balance out the day. I would love to say it was perfectly balanced, but then tonight I got cranky with my kids. AGHHHH!!

I think we have really great plans and often times things don't turn out perfectly like we think, or we have days that are unbalanced, or times we wish we could take back words or actions. But, I don't think that make us bad parents, just normal. I think it is part of this mortal experience to have things not go just as planned. I think learning to control our actions and words is part of becoming like Christ. I think that balance is one of those things we have to learn because even Christ I am sure had to find balance in his own life between helping others and helping himself. This mortal life is full of challenges and broken plans and paradigms, but it is amazing to me how out of those broken things we become better. I mean I don't want my kids to break stuff because sometimes you can't fix it, but sometimes it happens and they learn a lot from it. I think it is like that, when our plans break, or things don't fit like they should but we keep trying and trying to do what is right we learn and things become what they are meant to be. 

To be honest I don't even know if this post makes sense, but I just felt like before I post about another great thing we did I should post about how sometimes it is not so great, but we just keep moving forward and hold to God's promise that He will make up the difference if we do the best we can, follow Him, and repent.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Palisades Trip

The last couple of years we have taken a little mini-adventurecation inside our vacation with the Merrill family. The time leading up to them can be really stressful, and we are never really sure who is going to come, but you know what I have loved doing them. I know it is kind of mean to pull Grandpa away from his farm in the summer, but it is so great to have his undivided attention. I know he worries about the farm still, but he does it a little differently when he isn't right there. I know it is a lot of work for Grandma to get everything packed up and ready to go, and it sometimes takes major convincing from her to get some of the others to come. It gets kind of crazy getting everything packed up, cleaned up, arranged and ready to go. However, when we actually get there it is AWESOME!! It is so awesome because when we go on these adventurecations we take EVERYONE out of there normal routine and place and we do it all together. The kids play really well together even at there houses or the farm, but the play is different when we are all out of our homes. However, my favorite part by far is when we do these we are a family with very few interruptions for about 24hrs. Yeah its crazy and it doesn't ever quite go as planned, but it is perfect in its own way.

Last year we went to Bear Lake and this year we went to Palisades. This trip was all organized and sponsored by Heidi and Jeff. They did a great job. They reserved a group site at Big Elk Creek. It was a site for about 115 people or so. It was a little or major over kill for us our needs but it worked out great and fulfilled all of our needs. We all set up our tents in the tent area of the campsite and picked the firepits closest to Heidi and Jeff's tent for the cooking and eating. The campsite was great becuase we could kind of spread out from each other, but it had running water and we had our own personal vault toilets. We also had plenty of parking, tent space, tables, and firepits, plus a big open meadow for us to play games in. Then only downside is it was right by Big Elk Creek and James would run for it every time you let him go.

Anyway, we left for Palisades on Thursday after lunch. It was a nice drive. Going up to the country sure is pretty. Although, I did miss some of it because I took a nap, but naps are beautiful too. Anyway, we got there and Heidi and Jeff were already there and setting up camp. We picked out our tent pad and set up there. Then we hung around and visited and helped get things setup and stuff.
The setup at what we used as the main hub. Aaron, Jeff, Tia, Melanie, James, Arlin, and Heidi.
Then we went on a little hike. Being me I would have probably pushed my kids to go farther, but we hiked until the pregnant lady (Heidi), a few kids, and Grandpa said they were done. Which is totally fine. There were no tears shed on this hike which I think is a first for me. Also the part we hike was so pretty. There were quite a few place you could see the river, and all of it was grassy green with beautiful wild flowers. It really was a nice hike. It wasn't too steep or anything, but the trail was a bit narrow and the part we hiked had quite a few sunny spots, but oh it was really pretty still.
Gaupo (the blue dot ahead), and Kylee on the trail. Tia is with Gaupo but you can't see her.
At the turn around point. Gaupo, Tia, Glen, Naomi, and Heidi.
Me, Katelyn, Melanie, Blaine, Arlin and Kylee. We were on top of a big rock to the side of path.
After we hiked for a little bit, and took a break we hiked back and the kids played in the area were a spring ran to catch the river. They had a great time dipping fingers, feeling the water rush over there hands on the little falls. They also loved how cold it was. I was super impressed by how clear it was.
Heidi, Arlin, Katelyn, Blaie, Melanie, Gaupo, Grandpa, Aaron, James, Grandma, Jeff, and Jarom.
Arlin, Tia, and Kylee a little further up the stream.
After finishing with all that we headed back to camp and played there. I taught the kids how to play stop/go aka Red light/ Green Light. We played that until the kids lost interest. Actually Arlin and Kylee loved the games I played and would have kept playing, but thing are only so interesting when there are only two that want to play and we have to keep track of 4-6 others. However, after some game playing and more visiting it was time for dinner. We built a fire and had hot dogs, polish dogs, and somores. It was so tasty. I think I post about this almost every time I talk about fire roasted hot dogs, but they really are so good and somores. I mean the whole thing is just summer in meal. Plus there was watermelon, chips, and pineapple, so it was so good. Then I got Jeff to help me and we played Johnny, Johnny Butcher Boy with the kids. They were  a little young for that one, but I thought it was still fun and Jeff was such a sport to play with me/us. Then we just visited and the kids played there own games. While sitting there, Grandpa spotted a bald eagle sitting in a tree. Jeff had brought his binoculars, so we looked at it through those. Then Aaron had his spotting scope out which hooks to his phone (which is super cool), so he had it on there and we could see it really cool. It was quite a bird to behold. Then it still wasn't getting dark and it was like 9:00/9:30, and the kids were getting really tired, so we decided it was time to go to bed.

Saturday dawned not too early. About 6:30 which for sleeping outside I think is really impressive. The night wasn't too bad. Tia had a bit of a time falling asleep, and some how ended up under her sleeping bag. Kylee said she slept good. Apparently I slept alright because Gaupo said in the middle of the night Tia was on top of me and he had to move her back. (Gaupo says we are not sleeping in our little tent anymore.) Gaupo said he slept alright, but at the end of the day he was really tired. He went to bed at like 8:00ish. Anyway, Gaupo got up and got the fire going. The girls and I got ready in our tent and then we went out. Pretty much everyone was up by about 7:00,  so breakfast and hot chocolate were being made about that time. We had breakfast burritos. So bacon, eggs, and cheese on a tortilla. It was a really easy and simple and filling. Then we had to take down camp. While that was all getting done and we were kind of waiting around we played Spud. Alrin and Kylee really like that game. Even Tia enjoyed it a bit. It took Gaupo and I awhile to get our tent put up, because we needed to wait for the dew to dry, but finally did and we got it put away. Once we were all packed up we drove just around the bend to Little Elk Creek.

There we met up with a Brother from Heidi and Jeff's ward who brought some wood kayaks that he made. Heidi and Jeff had bought this trip at an auction their young women held for a fundraiser. Anyway, we met him there and he let us kayak on Little Elk Creek. Oh man it was so pretty and his kayaks were so awesome too. They handled really nice. Me and one of my girls could actually fit in one pretty easily and the girls also like sitting together in the two person kayak. So we just floated and paddled around for a couple of hours until lunch. We had sandwiches, chips, cookies, and watermelon for lunch. Then we went out and kayaked again. I did talk to the brother about how he made his kayaks and he says he read a book on it and then did it. He builds them on a form and glues all the many, many pieces together one at a time. It is quite the process and he says on average it takes about 300 hours. He chuckled and said "It's a good winter project." This brother has such a great personality and was such a joy to be around. Anyway, we paddled more on the creek until about 2:00 when Gaupo was ready to leave. So, we came to shore and ended up letting the girls play in the water for another 15-30 minutes and then we left. I slept a lot of the way, but it was nice.
Kylee and Tia playing in the two person kayak.
Me, and Kylee and Tia out in the two person kayak.
Naomi, Arlin, Tia, and Kylee playing in the water.
Kylee and Arlin with squirters.
The crew at lunch. Aubrey, Grandma, Arlin, Grandpa, Tia, The Brother, Naomi, Kylee, Aaron, and Melanie.
Then we stopped at Grandpa-Great's on the way home to visit him and my mom. We were dirty, and a little travel worn, but they gladly welcomed our visit. It was great to visit with them. It was really hard to say good-bye for the final time, but I am really glad Gaupo let us stop for about 30-45 minutes. Then we headed home and got a few things unpacked and had dinner. Then Gaupo got ready for bed and I played a little disc golf with Gary, Melanie, and Aaron. Then I put the kiddos down and played 5 Crowns for a little while before we all headed to bed.

It was so great to go spend sometime in the outdoors and to do it with family. My girls totally enjoyed camping and getting dirty. It was defiantly time well spent I think. I should probably get some other opinions, so if we do plan an adveturecation for next year we know if people really like it or not. As you can see all part of our vacation were great. We learned a lot, played a lot, enjoyed family and each other. Our kids loved the freedom of the country. They loved playing with their cousins and attention from Grandma. I am so glad we made the trip and did what we did. It was a little crazy, but so fun and good memories and bonds were made.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Visiting the Merrill Family

In the last post, I think we ended at us going down to Logan to visit Gaupo's Grandma. Well once we were back in Swanlake we were there for awhile. Definitely, not as long as anyone would have like, but still we got a great visit and vacation there. Here are some pics from the Logan visit.

Grandpa, Kylee, James, and Aunt Sarah.
Josh, Gaupo, and McKay.
Melanie, Aaron, Granmda, Blaine
Aunt Jill, Grandma Hammond, James, and Tia.
Tia and Blaine eating snack in the 'kitchen.'
I love visiting Swanlake because there is so much that we love there. We love the family we visit and we love the place we visit. One of the kids and I's favorite  things to do is go on four-wheeler rides. I love going on rides with Gaupo, but I also like feeling like a cool aunt/mom when I take the kids out for a spin. One day they will get too old to be pleased with just going up to the pond and back, and I will either have to have Gaupo take over or learn more trails. Anyway, the kids (Kylee, Tia, Blaine, and sometimes James) would take many a trip on the four-wheeler up to the pond and back. One of my favorite runs was when Guapo had the girls and I just had Blaine and we went up to the pond and the fish were jumping and he asked if he could watch the fish. I was more than happy to accommodate that request because I sometimes like to just sit and enjoy too. Plus, the fish really were jumping and it was pretty fun to watch. However, I loved having just that small quiet moment with Blaine all to myself it was awesome. This year along with four-wheeling we got the chance to use a Rzer too. Aaron and Melanie recently got one and so that was fun because it was a little easier to haul all of the people that wanted rides. But, to be honest I love the feeling of four-wheelers. So, the Rzer was nice and I think Gaupo enjoyed it, but I am still a four-wheeler fan. Although, we might not want to tell Aaron that or he might not let me use it. (jk) Anyway, we did a lot of rides and the kids also loved playing on the Rzer and four-wheelers, so they took plenty of their own imagination rides. Although, I am not sure I want to be on those because they sure bail on and off the four-wheelers a lot, so they sound a little crazy. I love little kids imaginations.
Tia in the Rzer on Gaupo's lap. Scott and Aubrey on the four-wheeler.
Another thing we love doing up at Merrill Ranch is fishing. The Merrill's have a stocked pond and we went out on Wednesday morning about 7:30ish and it was great fishing. We caught 4 fish, but luckily the little 4-incher I caught jumped off the hook. Kylee caught her first fish and she was so proud. I was helping Tia and so I couldn't get a picture. I told Gaupo to, but for whatever reason he didn't get one either, so we can't document, but she did catch it all on her own. She did everything from casting and waiting to reeling it it. Although, she didn't haul it up the bank and take the hook out, but she watched all of that part. Once again, it was so nice to sit up there on the bank of that pond and fish in the midst of God's beautiful creations. It was so peaceful and it was just us up there. I loved having Tia sit with me for a few minutes and visit with her. I loved standing by Kylee and helping her have the patience to wait for the fish. I love watching Gaupo doing things with his girls and I like watching him fish too. It was just a great morning. The girls really enjoyed the fact that Grandpa came up near the end of the trip with the tractor, and they got to sit on it while he loaded the wood and then they pressed the horn button, and they got a little ride. They LOVED it!! Gaupo also took Kylee and Tia fishing again on Saturday morning. I would have gone, but I needed to get things ready to leave. This time they caught three, but only two made it all the way to shore. Grandma filleted them for us and we took them home. I cooked them up and they were really good. 
Kylee fishing. This one was on the fourth.
We also spent a lot of time with cows on this visit. Kylee learned that she really liked the calves sucking on her hands, and Tia loved watching the cows get milked and just watching the big cows. Often times I would take the four kids over too the cows and they would all watch the big cows for a bit and then Kylee would go to the calves while the rest of us went to the barn to watch milking. Sometimes we would then wander up to the manager where the kids loved to see the cows faces. They also enjoyed throwing hay at them and saying 'eat, eat.' Tia, Blaine and Kylee also enjoyed running near the manger area which of course spooked the cows and they thought it was pretty funny to watch them run. I don't know these kids and there cows they sure love them, so we spend lots of time out there.
Tia also loved these cats. She carried them like babies. The cats didn't much enjoy it, but she sure did.
The 4th of July in Swanlake is another thing we all, but especially Gaupo, look forward to. It starts with a scout breakfast and flag raising at the church house. We all go to that and get a great breakfast of pancakes, egg, sausage (which most times comes from Monte Henderson's pigs),dutch oven potatoes, and juice. It is so good. Plus, the kids have a great time playing on the swings and stuff that are right there after it is all done. Then we head back home. This year Grandma really wanted to go up to the pond, so we packed up everything to make burgers and dutch oven potatoes and took it up there. Then when we got up there we got out the paddle boats which was kind of an adventure at least for me because I HATE snakes and mice and there happened to be both living underneath the boats. Luckily for me everyone else was more that willing to take care of all of those critters while I stayed back and waited. We got the boats out on the pond. Melanie and I took the kiddo's out first and the Gaupo took out the other one and met us and then of course all the kids wanted in his boat. Melanie and I paddled around with James until he was getting ready to bail on us and then we went back in. While we were up on shore Jeff and Heidi got there and the food got ready. So, we had more dutch oven potatoes and then Hamburgers. Then it was pretty hot, so we just chatted in the shade we could find. We did let Kylee go fishing a bit and let Tia go in a boat again while we visited. Then we decided that we had had enough heat and went down to the house. The kids all got snacks and by this time it was like 2:30ish. My plan was to let Kylee and Tia just stay up because Jeff and Heidi weren't going to be there long. So, I was letting them play and they decided to climb up into a chair and watch TV for minute and well before the minute was over they had both passed out in the chair. I left them there and they woke up a little before Heidi and Jeff left, but not much. Oh well, that is how it goes sometimes. Once Heidi and Jeff left we just kind of did our normal thing of playing outside and watching cows. Then dinner and games and talking and bed. That is pretty much the Fourth in Swanlake and it is enjoyed by everyone. Plus its great to see family and enjoy just being together.
Us out on the pond.
Melanie, Me, and Blaine on the boats.
Tia, Kylee, Blaine, and Gaupo on the boat.
Aubrey, Gary, Grandpa, and Gaupo chatting on the porch of the 'cabin.'
Tia, and Kylee crashed after a fun, but early morning.
Finally the newest addition to the endless fun was Gary bought a Frisbee Golf cage. So, we played Frisbee golf up at the pond and at the house. We figured out a pretty good little course around the house and had fun playing that on a few of the evenings.We all had a good  time competing in that. Especially Aaron who was really glad to more of a physical challenge than mental. However, it worked out well because he could compete there and they was all chill and stuff for when we came in and played games. However, it was really fun to have something to play with Gary and to get out of the house and enjoy. I think it is definitely worth Gary's investment because I know of at least three times we played and a couple of those times we played more than one round, and everyone had fun and enjoyed it, so it was really great.

Now, before you think I am not going to blog about our Palisades adventure I am, but that is going to be a post all of its own coming up next.